Military Spouses are (Professional) People too!

iStock_000015964385_ExtraSmallBy Splash Media U Contest Finalist, Michelle Campbell of Forte VSS

Social media has had a significant impact on the military spouse experience. It has helped to close the distance between spouses and their service members while they are deployed, between spouses and their families when they are stationed across the country or around the world, and between spouses and the life-long friends they have made at each duty station by providing a real-time mode of communication with those who are most important in their lives. But, aside from all of that, social media has helped some military spouses to overcome the barriers to career progression that have plagued this population for decades.

The life of a military spouse is one filled with various challenges. Thankfully, challenge is not a foreign concept to this group. The husbands and wives of our nation’s service members face many, such as moving to a new state or a new country every few years, coping with deployments and extended separations from their service member and their immediate family, and understanding that someone else has more control over their lives than they’d like.

While these are some of the more obvious challenges one might come to expect from living the military lifestyle, another less obvious challenge is figuring out how they can build a successful career while living the military lifestyle. For military spouses, any job they are hired for is typically a temporary position. Not because the employer is filling a temporary position but because at some point in a year or two or three, the military will require them to once again pack up their lives, put them on a truck or airplane, and move on to the next duty station.

Frequent moves and job changes can present obstacles that may stunt the growth of a spouse’s career and hinder its progression. Consequently, it can be extremely difficult for spouses to get established and realize the success and professional satisfaction many desire. However, it is possible for this reality to become the exception rather than the rule.

Thanks to the rise of social media, military spouses no longer have to put their career aspirations on hold. Technology affords them the ability to work at any time, from any time zone, from anywhere in the world. For someone who moves frequently, this is one option that offers the opportunity for a stable professional life and career.

And social media has opened new doors for military spouses by presenting them with new career opportunities that were not available even a few years ago. There is a new booming industry centered around social media marketing, so those who have a knack for marketing and a love of social media can combine their skills and passion and launch an online business that can be both profitable and portable.

A career as a virtual social media professional can offer a military spouse the professional satisfaction they desire while providing a freedom they have never known. But, perhaps one of the most important things that a virtual career in social media can do for a spouse is to help them rediscover their identity.

Who a spouse is as an individual can become buried and forgotten over time because so much focus and attention is placed on the service member. A spouse is more than So-and-So’s wife or that military child’s father. Their sums are greater than their service members’ ranks and accomplishments.

By taking advantage of all social media has to offer as a profession, a spouse can have that career they have been longing for, something that is just for them and separate from their service member’s career and their family responsibilities. So, spouses: give yourself permission to become who you know you are and allow yourself live the life you want, regardless of where in the world you find yourself. It really is okay!

Is this your favorite Splash Media U Finalist piece!  Cast your vote by leaving a comment below the post.  Voting ends on March 15, 2013!

118 COMMENTS

  1. Social Media has open so many opportunities. Great perspective when it comes to how the military spouse can take advantage of those opportunies.

    • Thanks very much, Kim. Things certainly have changed during our 16 years. Social media would have been extremely helpful to me as a new spouse during the early years of my husband’s enlistment. It would have been much easier to keep in touch with family and friends back home. Did social media change things for you during your time in?

    • Very well written! Great article Michelle!

    • Great article Michelle !

  2. As a military wife, with family and friends all over the world, social media has gotten me through life a whole lot easier… great article.

  3. Wonderful article and very well written. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  4. Great Essay! Very well put!

  5. Fantastic job and very interesting. Great job Michelle!!

    • Thanks for your support, Veronica! You show your support for members of militaries all around the world. Keep doing what you do. I know it is greatly appreciated!

  6. Jacqueline Henneberry

    Very well written and so true. I wish they had social media back when I was getting moved all over the world with my father. It would have made life as a “Military Brat” so much easier. Good luck!!!

  7. Social media has definitely had a positive impact on the families of our military

  8. You captured it exactly!! The military and their families have a tough time and social media helps
    make it easier. My favorite line, “By taking advantage of all social media has to offer as a profession, a spouse can have that career they have been longing for….. regardless of where in the world you find yourself. It really is okay!”

    • As a military spouse, I couldn’t agree more. Well done.

        • Well, I’m a little older than you, so social media was more like snail mail. Actually, I don’t know if you remember back this far, but I used ICQ. It was like the very first instant message. That was as close to social media I got.

  9. I like how this article shows a different perspective of the challenges faced by a military wife and the struggles to have a successful career.

  10. Very well written article. My Father is a retired Chief Warrant Officer and I wish we had Social Media when we were younger… It would have been easier to communicate with my dad when he was sent to the Gulf War. Good job! Best of luck!

  11. Thank you, Shona! Thanks or sharing. You know, we’ve been in the Army for 16 years (my husband is Chief Warrant Officer too!), I opened a Facebook account just three years ago when we were getting to leave Germany and head back to the States. I can relate to experiences because I didn’t even have it when he was deployed to Iraq and I was expecting. Looking back now, it would have been nice to have it to keep in better touch. Hindsight is great, isn’t it?! I resisted for a long time because I knew I would become addicted to it, which I did! But, I’m so glad my friends pushed me to do it, so we could stay in touch. I love my milspouse friends and miss them very much, and I am thrilled to be able to keep up with what’s going on with them.

    • Oh boy! My brain seemed to be working a little faster than my fingers on this last response. Let’s try this again, shall we?

      Thank you, Shona! Thanks or sharing. You know, we’ve been in the Army for 16 years (my husband is Chief Warrant Officer too!), I opened a Facebook account just three years ago when we were getting ready to leave Germany and head back to the States. I can relate to your experiences because I didn’t even have it when he was deployed to Iraq and I was expecting! Looking back on it now, it would have been nice to have it to keep in better touch. Hindsight is great, isn’t it?! I resisted for a long time because I knew I would become addicted to it. And, I did! But, I’m so glad my friends pushed me to sign up so we could stay in touch. I love my milspouse friends and miss them very much. I am thrilled to be able to keep up with what’s going on with them.

  12. This is a great article! I’m hoping you win this thing. You deserve it!!!

  13. Great article! Thanks for sharing your perspective and experiences.

  14. Jennifer Dean-Pyper

    Very well written article!!

  15. Excellent, great article Michelle.

  16. Darryl Jackson, Retired Army

    Military Spouse, the toughest job of them all. Thank you for an article that everyone needs to read and understand.

  17. Great article – technology has truly changed the game (in a good way) for military spouses!

  18. Wonderful article! This is so true: “A career as a virtual social media professional can offer a military spouse the professional satisfaction they desire while providing a freedom they have never known. But, perhaps one of the most important things that a virtual career in social media can do for a spouse is to help them rediscover their identity.”

    • Thanks, Amy. I don’t know about you, but I see many wives who seem to feel they can’t have their own life because their husband serves, and no one should think that.

  19. Great article Michelle, and very inspiring! It is a very exciting time in the world of online business, and the opportunities to build a successful business around your skills, passions, knowledge abound!

    • Thanks, Megan! And, I agree. The possibilities are virtually endless if you have the motivation and desire to pursue what you love.

    • Thanks, Megan! I agree. The possibilities are virtually endless for anyone who has the motivation and desire to pursue what they love.

  20. Wow, Michelle, great article. I have such respect for military spouses! Best wishes in the contest!

  21. Michelle, thank you for this heartfelt and powerful blog post. What did military families do before social media. I would imagine that months would go by without hearing a word. What a “connected” world we live in. Bravo and best of luck!

    • Thank you, D’vorah! Things really have changed. I can’t imagine what it must have been like before to have to endure extended deployments. The women who made it through all of that were STRONG!

  22. Theresa Scholes

    Well done Michelle, what a great insight for us ‘non military’ families to see the world from your perspective.

  23. Great article Michelle! Like you, I wish social media and the associated careers had been available during the early years of my marriage to my husband while he was still in the military.

  24. Excellent article! I have known that social media connects us to our past (such as college, high school, or even elementary school friends), but it never occurred to me the advantage it now gives to the working spouse who also happens to be a military spouse. Let’s face it, if you are a military spouse, you need to work. What better way to establish stability, than an online job solution. Great article. Keep writing.

  25. Wonderful article, Michelle! Great advice for spouses who have been searching for a meaningful career that will stick with them no matter where they move!

  26. Will written Michelle, your article has opened my eyes to some of the many challenges you must face

  27. Alison Swerdloff

    This is a great article, Michelle. Very well written. As someone who has many family members in the military, and knowing what the spouses dealt with, I can totally understand where you are coming from with this.

  28. Excellent article and well written! Hope you win, Michelle! I’ve never met you but I went to school with your husband. If you’re even half the woman he says you are, you’re quite amazing! Good luck to you!!

  29. Well said! I have seen how social media has helped a lot of families stay in touch.

  30. This is so well written (I would expect nothing less from you, of course). I loved it!

  31. Insightful article, Michelle. So appreciate the sacrifices from both the enlisted and their family as each give to this country. ‘Thank you’ hardly seems like enough.

    • Thanks for your support, Ruth! I am happy to stand by man while he works to make a difference. I am very proud of all he does for us and to keep this country safe.

  32. Only one word, says it all Excellent and insightful article. Thank you!

  33. You are amazing. Thanks só much for sharing your heart within us!

  34. Great idea! Social media is borderless! My SIL who is a military spouse is very social media savvy!

  35. Great article, Michelle! Good luck!

  36. Great article Michelle. It not only underlines the sacrifices military spouses make for their partner and their country, but identifies how social media is finally making it possible for them to step into a career they can thrive at, no matter where they are or how often they change their physical location! Well done! Good luck!

  37. Thanks for sharing. I have been in the military and know what the distance feels like. I was in the military during the time there was no social media so I can only imagine the great impact that social media is having military members and their spouses. Great job and wonderful article.

  38. Great article Michelle!

  39. Technology is a great thing!

  40. Great perspective and well written

  41. This is so well written. Good Luck

  42. Great advice for other military families

  43. Yes, social media is the perfect way to keep in touch for the military.

  44. We haven’t met but my cousin suggested the article. It’s great work.

  45. Well written. I agree, social media has definitely changed how we communicate with one another and it is a blessing in many ways.

  46. John Williamson

    Loved the article. Your’e a great writer

  47. As a Soldier, it was very interesting to hear how social media has affected the Military spouse. Well written article. Great job.

  48. To all of my friends and my awesome community of Facebook and Twitter peeps, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all of the support and wonderful comments you have given over the last several days and for the last ditch effort with additional comments due to the conflicting information. You all rock! Sending big hugs out to you all :0)

  49. Woo hoo! Awesome job! Congratulations, Michelle!

  50. The life of a military spouse is indeed one filled with various challenges. Imagine finding a job when you never know when you might have to move again! I’ve just gotten married and I’m looking to start a career in the healthcare industry. It’s a blessing!

  51. Good luck with your job search, Amy! Be sure to keep your mind and your options open and seek out something that will move with you to your next duty station.

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